From The Telegraph:
It might seem far removed from some of its more sombre instructions to the faithful over the centuries.
But the Roman Catholic Church has issued advice to its followers on how to use the internet – and given an unlikely stamp of ecclesiastical approval to the use of the humble smiley face.
In a new 10 Commandments for the internet age, Catholics are being urged to make use of “digital smiles” in postings on Twitter and Facebook as well as emails and text messages.
The guidelines follow a call from Pope Francis for Catholics to take the church’s message out “into digital highways”.
In an echo of the original 10 Commandments, the instructions warn the faithful never to “bear false witness on the internet”.
But there are also injunctions against “preachiness” in online postings or being judgmental towards others in messages in internet forums or social networking sites.
The guidance is outlined in a message by one of the most senior Catholic clerics in the British Isles, Archbishop Eamon Martin, the incoming Archbishop of Armagh and future Primate of All Ireland.
In a reflection about the rise of modern communications, the Archbishop likens the internet to St Paul’s impressions of first century Athens in which people appeared to do “nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas”.
“I see the internet as being like the ‘new Athens’, new marketplace or Areopagus, a ‘global village’ to be won for Christ,” he said.
The 10 Commandments:
1: Be positive and joyful. Offer ‘digital smiles’ and have a sense of humour.
2. Strictly avoid aggression and ‘preachiness’ online; try not to be judgmental or polemical.
3. Never bear false witness on the internet.
4. Fill the internet with charity and love, always giving rather than taking.
5. Have a broad back when criticisms and insults are made – when possible, gently correct.
6. Pray in the digital world. Establish sacred spaces, opportunities for stillness, reflection and meditation.
7. Establish connections, relationships and build communion.
8. Educate our young to keep themselves safe and to use the internet responsibly.
9. Witness to human dignity at all times online. We are well aware of the pervasive prevalence of pornography on the internet which can ‘pollute the spirit’.
10. Be missionary, be aware that with the help of the internet, a message has the potential to reach the ends of the earth in seconds.
There’s more. Read it all.